However you may view the practice of hunting "captive" deer in fenced
areas (pens), you owe it to yourself to voice your opinion in the framework
of a public meeting of the "Cervid Council" January 17 at Fort Harrison
Members of the blue-ribbon committee studying the practice of hunting
deer in pens (however large the pens may be) have agreed only to disagree
on most facets of the problem, but they will listen to input of the public
at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the upcoming session.
Having watched the legislature and the farm-lobby monster for roughly
half a century, I doubt that anything panel members agree upon will mean
a whit in final lawmaking action. But if you have an opinion on the matter,
you should give it voice by attending the meeting. If you can't attend
the meeting, voice your opinion by e-mail: cerviccouncil@DNR.state,
or by conventional mail: Cervid Council, Division of Fish and Wildlife,
402 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
In the past, when proponents of deer-pen hunting have tried to ramrod
this shoddy practice through the legislature, and to usurp the authority
of the Department of Natural Resources to manage wildlife, it was generally
agreed that such enclosures should have a fence eight feet high to keep
the penned deer and the wild deer separated. But even people from their
own camp will tell you an eight-foot fence will not thwart ingress/egress
of a white-tail deer. Eight-foot fences are the norm for such facilities
With this thought in mind, it would seem that the height of the deer
pen fence would be a key issue--and that eight feet is woefully short.
Frankly, I have never believed government--any government--is charged
with the responsibility of telling a land or business owner how to run
his/her business. But I feel just as strongly that government is charged
with managing OUR wildlife (wildlife belongs to we, the people). If
land or business owners are endangering our wildlife, government (in this
case the Department of Natural Resources) should rule.
I also believe that without regard to height of fences, wild deer (our
deer outside the enclosures in question) will be lured to said enclosures
by the "promise" of ready supplies of food. You don't have to put up signs
to guide wild critters to food sources.
With the possibility of wild and imported deer intermingling in the
confines of the slaughter enclosures (oops, deer-pen hunting facilities),
it would seem that the DNR should be specifically empowered to require
that deer-pen operators clearly mark their imported deer with a tattoo
(not a tag, but a tattoo). Operators of such enclosures should be required
to register imported animals when they are released in the enclosure. Every
deer taken at such a commercialized facility should be checked on the spot
by a conservation officer to determine ownership (theirs or ours). Proponents
of deer-pen hunting emphasize that they have no desire to exploit our wild
deer. Talk is cheap, let them prove it.
Seasons on both ducks and geese have ended in the state's North Zone
(roughly the northern third of the state), but seasons on ducks will remain
open through January 13 in the South Zone and January 18 in the Ohio River
Seasons on Canada geese will remain open through January 31 in both
South and Ohio River zones.
Coupled with heavy rains over the weekend, this means the two forks
of White River will offer some very good floating jump-shooting for waterfowl
before the seasons close.
Best bets will be south of Martinsville on the west fork of the White,
and downstream from Seymour on the east fork.
Flooded corn and soybean fields will offer some good shooting over decoys
for those who do some scouting to learn where the birds are feeding.
Floating rivers or streams in times of high water can be very dangerous.
All safety precautions--especially the WEARING of a life preserver--should